John Bercow re-elected unopposed as Speaker

John Bercow was returned as Commons Speaker today after an attempt to remove him was cast aside by the vast majority of MPs.





As the new-look Commons met for the first time since the General Election, a small number of MPs tried to force a vote on Mr Bercow's future as Speaker.



But their calls were overwhelmed by a roar of approval for his continued tenure and the Father of the House, Sir Peter Tapsell, refused to order a formal division.



The abortive bid to oust the Speaker came after David Cameron took his Commons seat as Prime Minister for the first time.



He was cheered into the chamber by Tory MPs and, in another first, sat next to Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister.



The last time Conservative and Liberal ministers sat alongside each other on the Government front bench was during Winston Churchill's wartime coalition which ended in 1945.



Mr Cameron included a nod to Mr Clegg's new position on the Government front bench as he made reference to the large number of new faces in the Commons.



There are 226 new faces in the Commons - more than a third of the 650-seat chamber - after the expenses scandal prompted the biggest exodus in living memory at the General Election.



"It really does look and feel different," Mr Cameron said. "Indeed many of us are sitting next to people that we've never sat next to before."



With the Lib Dems joining the Tories in the new coalition administration, the MPs of both parties shifted sides to the Government benches.



Labour MPs were left with the small number of MPs from nationalist and other minor parties on the opposition benches.



Mr Bercow decided to sit among his former Conservative colleagues on the Government benches - just a few places away from his chief critic, Tory backbencher Nadine Dorries.



As the question was put as to whether he should resume the Speaker's chair, Ms Dorries and Labour MP Kate Hoey were among a handful of MPs who shouted "no".



While the rest of the chamber called back "aye", a single opposing MP is technically enough to force a division, and formal vote, of the House.



But Sir Peter, chairing proceedings, used his discretion to insist "the Ayes have it" and Mr Bercow was dragged to the chair in the time-honoured fashion.



Earlier, in a brief speech, Mr Bercow had pledged to discharge his duties impartially, defend the rights of backbenchers and hold the Government to account.



"It was a privilege to serve as Speaker for the past 10 months and it would be an honour to serve again in this Parliament," he said.



With his wife, Sally, looking down from the public gallery, Mr Bercow added: "I would discharge my duties impartially, not just between parties but between individual members.



"Above all I would defend the rights of backbenchers to hold the Government to account and to champion the causes dear to their hearts."



Mr Bercow became Speaker in June last year - largely on the votes of Labour MPs - after Michael Martin was forced from the post over the expenses scandal.



Since then he has courted some unpopularity on the Conservative benches he once sat on and was even challenged at the election but comfortably held his Buckingham seat.



Tory former Cabinet minister Sir Malcolm Rifkind hailed Mr Bercow today as a "modern Speaker for a modern age".



But, speaking afterwards, Ms Dorries said the Speaker lacked the mandate of an election by the new parliament.



"The problem is he was voted as Speaker by a block Labour vote," she said.



"He needs the support of all parties in the House."



She said it would have been "good for him" to be re-elected, adding: "He's fudged through once again."



The election of the Speaker is the only business MPs are allowed to conduct before they have taken the oath of allegiance - or made the non-religious solemn affirmation - to the Queen.



The swearing-in of MPs will begin tomorrow afternoon, starting with the Speaker, who is followed by Sir Peter Tapsell, then the Cabinet, the shadow cabinet and other privy counsellors and ministers.



Backbench MPs are taken in order of seniority, based on length of service in the Commons. The procedure is expected to run into next week.



MPs can choose to swear on either the New Testament, the Old Testament (in English or Hebrew), the Koran, the Granth, the Welsh Bible or the Gaelic Bible.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Voices
Ed Miliband and David Cameron are neck and neck in the polls
election 2015Armando Iannucci: on how British politics is broken
News
i100
Life and Style
Great minds like Einstein don't think alike
tech
News
Missing: 'Mail' columnist Peter Hitchens
election 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Leeds

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Leeds This i...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Bristol

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power